You may have heard that, following the death of George Mendonsa earlier this week, the statue depicting the iconic kiss at the announcement of Japan’s surrender at the end of WW2 was vandalized.
I had heard that the nurse in the picture/statue had not known the sailor that had kissed her, but this vandalism made me curious to know more.
Fortunately, there is an article in The Smithsonian that had a chance to interview the nurse, Greta Zimmer Friedman. She died in 2016 at the age of 92. And while she remembers the event as “not romantic, but of celebration of the war being over” (paraphrasing), she also describes it as “not her choice to be kissed, the guy just came over and grabbed.” (paraphrasing).
Some interpret her statements as descriptions of sexual assault. However, Greta herself did not view it as assault, although she did understand the argument for it. (source NYT, as described by her son) “[…]she made it clear the kiss was a “jubilant act” and “it was just an event of ‘thank god the war is over.'” ” (source BBC.com)
I am privileged to have grown up in a world that has not known war on the scale of WW2. I cannot imagine the relief, jubilation, and freedom that the announcement of the War being over would have caused.
No matter the cause of his excitement, or her retroactive approval, he should have asked for consent first. This isn’t a radical idea; simply respect others’ bodily autonomy. A quick question along the lines of, “Kiss?” or, “May I kiss you?”, would have had the same outcome.
Now, to get back to the vandalism of the statue, it cost $1000 USD to repair the damage.
The person who vandalized the statue was out of line. Although vandalism can be used as an effective, illegal, and destructive, form of protest, it feels disproportionate and disrespectful in this particular case. Damaging other’s property is against the law, no matter how much you disagree with the message.
It would have been better if they had printed a copy of the picture, graffitied on that, and taped it in front of the statue. Water soluble paint or chalk could have worked too. No damage done to anyone’s property, and the message would have gotten across.
The last time I talked about consent and kids, I focused on how to teach kids how to ask for consent. This time around, with the holidays here, I want to remind the adults that read this that the children in their lives are not obligated to give hugs or kisses to anyone.
For example, our daughter is terrified of men with white hair. This includes her great-grandfather, friends of the family, and, of course, Santa Claus.
Although her great-grandfather is getting older, we managed to get a picture of them by having her sit beside him on her father’s knee. It’s not the snuggly picture that we ideally wanted, but it’s a good compromise that lets her know that she has been understood, but still lets us get a picture of them together.
So remember, at holiday parties this year, that just because there is a child involved, does not mean that they are automatically obligated to give you a hug. It doesn’t matter if you’re a super close friend, parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or stranger; if the child does not give you a clear indication of consent, don’t touch them!
Our daughter’s consent is uplifted arms, or pro-active climbing onto your lap, in case you come across her this season.
Last week we went to a family birthday party (five celebrated at once, from the ages of 1 to 70!) and a lot of fun was had. However, it definitely brought to my attention that our daughter has no concept of personal space, boundaries, or consent.
She’s 1 years old. This is normal.
Normal it may be, but consent is something she needs to learn. And now that she’s walking and able to chase down other kids, she needs to learn it fast.
Fortunately, there are some pretty great resources to help us. I encourage everyone to read at least this guide (it’s 4 pages) if you have any children in your life, whether they belong to you, your family, or your friends.
My sister is already really great at respecting my daughter’s limits. Every time she visits, she asks “Can I pick you up?” before touching her. I know that if she ever says “no”, it will be respected.
As adults, we need to be aware that a child’s “no” to hugging, kissing, or being held, is not them casting any aspersions on our character. They’re just not in the mood to be touched, and we should respect that. Offer an alternative, like a high five, a fist bump, a blown kiss, or a simple wave.
Along a similar vein, if the child has agreed to be touched, and then wants to stop, they should be listened to.
This is all common sense, and easy to follow because we’re adults. We understand the reasoning. How do we teach it to children?
Part of teaching consent to kids is modelling it. Showing that they have agency over their own bodies is a big step to understanding that others are also to be respected.
She walked up to the only other person her size and tried to hug them. She kept her balance (and grip) quite well as he tried to wriggle away… I feel like I dropped the ball at this point. I should have taken her aside and explained that he wasn’t interested in being held, just like she didn’t want to be held by the strangers at the party. I might not have gotten through to her, but I should have tried, multiple times if necessary.
Teaching them empathy is another part. Our daughter also pulled the his hair. He cried, understandably. But she doesn’t seem to understand that having hair pulled hurts – she does it to herself all the time, and doesn’t seem bothered by it. She thinks it’s funny when she pulls other people’s hair. I made her apologize to him (I held her while I apologized for her because she is non verbal) and told her not to pull other people’s hair. I don’t think it has sunk in yet. She pulled mine the next morning.
Seriously. I see you over there tsking at the parents whose kids are crying or being loud.
Not every child deals the same with different stimulus. It’s not that they’re badly behaved, it’s that they have no methods for coping with stuff. Infants and babies literally have never experienced anything as terrible as what they’re going through. Cut them some slack.
4. Complain about their clothing
Not all parents can afford designer clothing, some parents are geeky, and not all parents follow your gendering ways. If a parent wants to put their girl in a batman outfit it’s none of your business. Same with if they want to put their boy in a pink wonder woman shirt. It’s none of your business.
3. Touch them without permission
The parents don’t know where your hands have been, the child can’t give consent, and it’s down right creepy. Check with the parents, and then if they’re ok with it, go nuts.
How would you feel if someone came up to you and started poking you, messing your hair, or grabbing your hand?
2. Insist they smile at you
Baby smiles are awesome. I understand that everyone loves it when a baby smiles at them. That doesn’t give you the right to stop the baby and parents and insist that the baby smile at you. If the baby smiles in passing, yay. If not, move along.
Having someone stop you in public to explain to your baby why they should smile is creepy.
1. Smoke in their vicinity or living area
At this point you either understand the dangers of smoking or you don’t want to understand. That’s perfectly fine but you forfeit the right to complain when someone tells you to move away from a baby.
Second hand smoke and third hand smoke (the smoke that stays on your clothing) can cause severe respiratory issues in babies for their entire life.
If you smoked in that clothing, you should not be holding a baby.
The song Baby It’s Cold Outside is downright creepy in modern days. I’m going to give the song the benefit of the doubt and assume it was written as a cute flirty song for the Holidays.
Recently the signer and songwriter duo Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski re-wrote the song to be less creepy and all about consent. As much as I applaud their enthusiasm, as a tool to teach consent it’s great, but it’s both a little awkward and really pushy as a message. That pushiness losses the original cute flirty feel of the song.
With small changes, the song can be fun without being creepy. The first thing to do is change who’s saying what. The structure of the song has a person who wants to leave and another who doesn’t want them to leave. It’s called a Mouse and Wolf Structure.
Switch the lines so that the Mouse is the Wolf and you suddenly have a much flirty-er song.
Mouse: I really can’t stay Wolf: Baby it’s cold outside Mouse: I’ve got to go away Wolf: Baby it’s cold out there Mouse: This evening has been Wolf: Been hoping that you’d drop in Mouse: So very nice Wolf: I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice
Mouse: You really can’t stay Wolf: Baby it’s cold outside Mouse: You’ve got to go away Wolf: Baby it’s cold out there Mouse: This evening has been Wolf: Been hoping that I’d drop in? Mouse: So very nice Wolf: I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice
It’s a little pushy but not as creepy since it comes off as the Wolf not wanting the leave and the Mouse teasing them about it. Lines like the below go from “I’m trying to escape” to teasing.
Mouse: My mother will start to worry Wolf: Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Mouse: Your mother will start to worry Wolf: Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Besides the slight reversal of roles I’d also add a line after, “What’s in this drink” that says, “Marshmallows, you’re driving.” and change Cigarettes to Episodes.
What do you think? Would this make the song fun again without feeling dirty or should we just retire this one as a holiday song?
For the next few weeks, both Blush posts and Fandom Travel posts will be guest posts. Thank you to the contributors! If anyone else is interesting in writing for either of these topics (and it can easily be kept anonymous!) please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss which topic you’d like to write about.
This week’s guest post is written anonymously by kitten. Please respect their privacy by not trying to guess who they are.
I guess preconceived notions about what someone would look like when they live a certain lifestyle come with everything: you expect a high powered executive to always be dressed in a suit with shiny shoes, a plumber to have pants that can’t stay up and someone in the BDSM lifestyle to look edgy with lots of tattoos and always in leather with a very obvious collar on their neck. I’m probably the furthest from what you’d expect, and aside from the black ribbon around my neck and the ring that says “collared” as well as my Dom’s fingerprint engraved into it, you’d probably never know that my Dom and I are in the scene.
I didn’t intend to become a part of this lifestyle. I actually remember very well when it piqued my interest: I was sitting in a summer course, chatting with a male friend of mine while another student was doing a presentation (yes, I know I should have been paying attention, but I still got a great mark in that class). My male friend started to tell me about some of the exploits he and his girlfriend had been trying out. The more he told me, the more questions I had for him, and the more curious I was about it. I did what any good student did: I researched. I found blogs and books and devoured them all. The more I read, the more I felt like something clicked inside: this fits me.
But all of the research and reading in the world couldn’t give me the experience that would prove that I wasn’t just enthralled by the idea of it all. I needed to try it out with a partner. I brought up the idea to my then fiance, and while he tried once to give me what I was asking for, it always felt like he was just playing a part. I needed to be with someone that was inherently Dominant. Someone that had the knowledge, the intuition, that it was as much of a part of them as their eye colour is. It wasn’t until I separated from my ex-husband that I was finally able to get that experience.
I didn’t choose the best person for that first experience; I chose the most convenient person. Considering they are very well known in the area, I’ll keep the details to myself other than saying be very, very careful about choosing a play partner. There are a number of people masquerading as “Dominants” who are just emotional manipulators. Listen to your instincts and talk to other people that know them. Get references. (Sounds extreme, but if you’re into extreme play, it is very important.)
All that said, I’m happy to have discovered that this is part of my sexuality. My current partner and I are in a 24/7 relationship, though we don’t always have kinky sex. If asked, I will tell you, though I don’t shout my sexual tendencies from the rooftops. My belief is that what happens in my bedroom is my business between my partner and myself and that I do not need anyone else’s opinions or judgements there.
As much as sexuality and gender identity can run across the spectrum, so can the degrees of what people consider to be “kinky” sex. Our version of kink includes bondage, pain play like hair pulling or biting, and impact play like spanking (either hand or with an implement like a crop or a whip), and exhibitionism. These kind of scenes take a while to set up and get ready, which doesn’t always make them feasible when we both work long days. It’s easier when we go to a BDSM club in town (yes, Ottawa has them; don’t look so shocked) because they have the set up for crosses, ceiling hooks for suspensions, tables, etc all set up.
When we do play, we use a pretty easy set of safe words: green, yellow, and red. They work just as you think they would; green is good to go, yellow is slow down and give me a bit of a break, red is STOP. We decided that these work best for us because it is what Dungeon Masters (safety/security monitors that makes sure everyone plays safely) in clubs ask for. It just made sense so we wouldn’t have to try and adjust our usual play for a night out.
Never, NEVER play with someone that won’t let you use safe words unless you have talked about it extensively beforehand. Part of the appeal of BDSM is that element of danger in a safe space, much like riding a motorcycle. But you or your partner could be seriously hurt (physically, mentally, and/or emotionally) if you don’t use a safe word and continually check in. I know some people have been with their partners for so long that they don’t use safe words any longer, and that some Dom/mes (typically, Dom means males and Dommes means females, but there are any number of titles for both, as well as for non-binary Dominants) won’t let their submissives use them; those are not people that I would ever consider playing with and I’d suggest the same for anyone new to the scene.
There are some BDSM elements that are a part of my daily life: my Dom gets a picture of my outfit every day to approve before I leave the house, I always have to wear my day collar when I’m out and away from him, and he always needs to know where I am, who I am with, and when to expect me home. I have different rules when we are out in scene: I don’t talk to anyone without his approval first, I don’t make eye contact with other Dom/mes, I wear my play collar and my leash is attached to him unless one of us is going to the bathroom. If it’s me, he waits outside the bathroom for me, if it’s him, he will give me leash to either a Dom he trusts or a Dungeon Master in a club. Some days I act like a bit of a brat and push back and argue with him about my rules; that usually results in a punishment spanking for me. That said, when I am truly upset or aggravated about one of my rules, he is ALWAYS willing to discuss it. Having the door open for communication is of primary importance for us both.
I imagine that my sexuality and turn ons will always evolve and change, and I’m open to that. Being aware of who I am, of what I want and need, took me a long time to accomplish, so I wear my Day Collar with pride. As Dolly Parton said, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
Jen has graciously offered to be a conduit for any questions that may pop up, and I’m happy to answer the best I can. If I feel like it is out of my realm of knowledge, I’ll try to help you find a good resource.
That’s my view; have fun, and play safely.
A good resource for people with questions would be FetLife. You will be required to sign up to access it.